Debts

Treasury written question – answered at on 28 January 2013.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Labour, Vale of Clwyd

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the level of individual household debt in each of the last 30 years.

Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated January 2013

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your question asking what estimate the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made of the level of individual household debt in each of the last 30 years. (139265)

In the UK National Accounts the most appropriate measure of household debt is the total financial liabilities of the Household and Non Profit Institutions Serving Households (NPISH) combined sector. Although the sectors are not split, NPISH (which includes for example, charities, trade unions and churches) makes up less than 5 per cent of the total financial liabilities.

Data for the total financial liabilities of the Household and NPISH sector exists at the UK national level and has a time series going back to 1987, as shown in Table 1.

Households in the national accounts are defined as being individuals or groups of people sharing living accommodation and possibly other aspects of daily life such as meals.

Data used here can be found as part of United Kingdom Economic Accounts, Quarter 3 2012:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/naa1-rd/united-kingdom-economic-accounts/q3-2012/index.html

Table A64 shows, in more detail, the aggregated liabilities.

Table 1: Total financial liabilities of the Household and NPISH sector
  Total financial liabilities (£ billion)
1987 270
1988 323
1989 372
1990 418
1991 450
1992 469
1993 486
1994 508
1995 532
1996 552
1997 589
1998 628
1999 677
2000 734
2001 810
2002 922
2003 1,049
2004 1,182
2005 1,256
2006 1,413
2007 1,521
2008 1,550
2009 1,533
2010 1,541
2011 1,529
Note: These data are in current prices and therefore reflect the impact of inflation.
Table 2: Total financial liabilities are calculated by summing the following aggregate liabilities:
Liability 2011 (rounded to the nearest £ billion)
Securities other than shares 9
Long and short term loans 1,446
Other accounts payable 74

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